NEW YORK: World stock markets fell on Wednesday but stayed within reach of an all-time high as investors welcomed Tuesday’s comments from U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen suggesting that the U.S. central bank is in no rush raise interest rates.
Markets, still on a high after the euro zone agreed to extend Greece’s debt deal, were also supported by slightly better than expected Chinese factory activity data.
The S&P 500 index of U.S. companies was slightly down and the Dow was barely up a day after they hit records on U.S. housing market data and at the start of a second day of testimony from Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen.
The benchmark FTSEurofirst 300 index was down 0.33 percent after six days of unbroken gains but was still up 12 percent since the end of 2014.
Following Wall Street’s gains on Tuesday and more rises in Asia overnight, MSCI’s 46-country world index was up 0.05 percent at 433.05 points and veering close to the 434.24 all-time peak it scaled in September.
“There is a pregnant pause in the market this morning,” said Peter Kenny, chief market strategist at Clearpool Group in New York.